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Tuesday, March 26 2019 @ 06:07 PM UTC

Crossing the border to Costa Rica by car

Immigration Issues"What is up at the border? I was going to get a "permiso de Salir" to drive to Costa Rica and a friend stopped by. He has a house in Costa Rica and Panama and has driven between more than 20 times. He told me don't bother you can't go anymore. His last trip to Costa Rica he purchased the Permiso de Salir as usual and drove to the border. He was denied passing the Panama side due to a new law that was posted on the window. You must be a resident to drive a Panama registered car across the border. Was he the only one? Is this real? So, I don't own my car? Any information about this would be more than informative. He is an american national."

Editor's Comment: Hmmm. No idea. I think this has to do with a band of car thieves who were stealing cars in Panama, taking them to Costa Rica, and then selling them. I know the government has tightened up considerably when it comes to driving from Panama to Costa Rica. However I'm still a little confused. The guy in question is an American, but where does he live? Where is his car registered? I suspect that whatever he wants to do can still be done, but just now there are additional steps, it's harder, more documents, etc.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Crossing the border to Costa Rica by car | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Crossing the border to Costa Rica by car
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 01 2011 @ 04:23 PM UTC

I have just finished going through the process of trying to get the Autorización Para la Salida de Vehicular Fuera del País, yesterday. I walked through the process with a lawyer. I had all of the documentation except for the certification from ADUANA that one needs before the vehicle can be inspected for the authorization. The problem is not with the Panama side of the border, it is with Costa Rica. I am a U.S. citizen who is a missionary in Panama. Due to the size of my family as well a the 180 day tourist visa we were thinking that it would be more cost effective to be tourists instead of going through the immigration process and only getting a two year visa. I purchased a vehicle which is in my name and everything. One problem is, although I have purchased the car and all is in my name, I am still a tourist so Costa Rica cannot verify that I am not buying a car in Panama to resell in Costa Rica. Another issue that I ran into was with my driver's license. When the tourist visa was good for 90 day the license was as well. Meaning I was ok to drive with my U.S. license. The tourist visa is good for 180 days but the driver's license duration has not been extended. So one can stay in Panama as a tourist for 180 days but can only legally drive for 90 of them. So if a person was able to drive their own car to CR to renew their tourist visa they could not due to their license not being valid. There is also no provision in the law for special permission to drive the remainder of the tourist visa. The only way to drive legally is to get a license which means beginning the residency visa process.

Crossing the border to Costa Rica by car
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 01 2011 @ 08:10 PM UTC

1. First two had Tourist visa within first month if visa. Owns car, insured, valid US license MOP and Aduana papers prior to leaving Panama City. At the border turned around said he can not drive across the border in a Panama registered car because he was not a resident and shown a new December 2010 law which read you can not drive a Panama registered car across the border if you are not a Panama resident.
2. One week ago, All of this guys paperwork was in line signed stamped and delivered as above. When he got to the Border the official told him he would be allowed to leave with all his documents in order as they were but he was firmly warned that he would not be able to drive his Panama registered car back into Panama ever if he wasn't a resident of panama.
3. A good Panamanian friend of mine had his paperwork together and drove across the border as usual.
No "new Problem's" on the Costa Rica side. Costa Rica has never asked for any Panama documents for you or your car from my experience. You can drive right in buy your insurance for about $25.00 get your 3 or 6 month permit to drive your car in Costa Rica and that's it for entering. Upon departure you MUST cancel or forfeit your Costa Rica permit or you won't be allowed re-entry in the future.
I had planned to walk into the Panama City MOP and Aduana this morning with a friend who is Panamanian and I was going to see what's necessary to have HIM drive MY car across the border because that or possibly putting your car in a Corporation is the only way to do it now with the new law. Plans changed because time is tight and his daughters birthday is on Sunday so we are going to do it in the future, I'd like to know if anyone finds a legal way to do it. If your trip is with a Panamanian what documents?

Crossing the border to Costa Rica by car
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 02 2011 @ 04:01 AM UTC

In October 2010 we wanted to go on vacation in Costa Rica with our car. We are Canadian tourists living for 3 years in Panama. We were use to go every 3 months outside Panama but this time we wanted to visit Manuel Antonio, San Jose and coming back on the Carribean side through Sixaola border. So, a week before leaving Panama, we did all the red tape administration in Ciudad Panama with the "Municipio", ATTT and the Police offices. Nothing strange happened, everything went fine. So on October 15, 2010 we drove very early in the morning to hit the Panama border around 11 a.m. They stamped our passports to exit Panama. Then we went to the other office to exit the car. We had all the papers in order. The girl looked at it and couldn't find anything wrong so she asked us if we were Panama residents. We answered no without thinking that could be a problem. But we were wrong! She told us that now, only Panama residents can go to Costa Rica with their car and we should go back to Ciudad Panama. We tried to explain to her that we had done it last April and could have gone through. But why now it's impossible. She told us that before they were flexible but not anymore. We asked to meet somebody higher. She referred us to an other woman, the "notary" in charge. We met her and explained her that we had hotel reservations in Costa Rica but she wasn't listening and she told us to return in town, 6hours away. So we called our lawyer who is from Panama and ask him to resolve the case by talking to her directly. After 2. 5 hours waiting and phone calls from our lawyer to somebody very important in David, the border received a fax from the "Registro Publico" indicating that we owned an apartment in Panama. With that paper they allowed us to cross the border for this time but she was very cleared that it was the last time as tourists, that we should start the residency process. On the Costa Rica border everything went well and coming back at the Sixaola border nothing special happened. The vacation was a bit clouded by this event. It seems that being tourist in Panama on a long term becomes more and more difficult with less rights. Now we are flying on vacation since we don't want to live the same frustrating experience anymore. With that measure It seems that all the Tourists drive to Costa Rica to sell their car!!! I don't see the logic in that new rule! It makes me feel living on an island. The only way to get out every 6 months of Panama in a human way and not having to spend 15 hours journey on a bus, is flying.